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Scientists are building a telescope to seek another Earth — and you can help

Before Dec. 20, Morse and his partner Brett Marty, executive director of the nonprofit Mission Centaur, aim to raise $1 million via Kickstarter — enough seed funding to get their project going. The rest of their budget will likely come from foundations and wealthy donors. The telescope, which they hope to launch into low Earth orbit in 2019, would be about the size of a dishwasher; its half-meter main mirror could fit on a coffee table.

 

Scientists Seek Your Help to Photograph Another Sun's 'Pale Blue Dot'

“It's a great time to be moving on a project like this using private funding,” Jon Morse, the CEO of BoldlyGo and one of the leaders of Project Blue, tells mental_floss. “It leverages what NASA has been investing in exoplanet research, along with pulling together the technologies and capabilities that commercial space has been developing, which has really brought a lot of the cost down.”

 

Crowdfunding Campaign Launches for Historic Space Mission

An estimated 600 million people worldwide sat in front of their TV sets on July 20, 1969, watching as Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon. Though a lot has changed since then, big moments in the history of space exploration still have the power to unite the world. NASA’s groundbreaking Kepler mission, launched back in 2009, thrilled scientists and UFO enthusiasts alike by confirming the presence of thousands of exoplanets, or planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. Now, a consortium of leading space and research organizations called Project Blue has launched a mission to photograph one of these Earth-like exoplanets for the first time—and they’re asking for the public’s help to make it happen.

 

Another Earth might exist right next door — and this tiny telescope may be the first to see it

"The first telescope to photograph a "pale blue dot" of another Earth in a distant solar system may not be funded by NASA, the European Space Agency, or some other government agency. It might come from Kickstarter."

 

The Daring Plan to Find the Next Earth Within a Decade

When astronomers confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized world orbiting Proxima Centauri just 4.25 light years away, hopes were ignited that there may be more planetary real estate in our cosmic neighborhood. To find out, a team of ex-NASA scientists is now seeking private funding to scour the Alpha Centauri system for habitable planets.

 
 
 

Telescope to Seek Earthlike Planet in Alpha Centauri System

A scientific research consortium on Tuesday announced plans to build and launch a privately financed telescope the size of a small washing machine in hopes of finding an Earthlike planet in the Alpha Centauri system, one of our closest cosmic neighbors.

 
 
 
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Ambitious mission to capture first picture of Earth-like planet launched

Astronomers have launched an ambitious project to capture the first picture of an Earth-like planet that could be home to life beyond the solar system. The privately-led mission aims to build a space telescope the size of a washing machine and point it at Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth, in the hope of glimpsing a rocky world or two where life may have gained a foothold. If the project is successful - and there is no guarantee - it could produce an image to rival the iconic “pale blue dot” photograph taken in 1990 when Nasa’s Voyager 1 probe looked back at Earth as it barrelled out of the solar system.

 
 
 
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'PROJECT BLUE' AIMS TO TAKE THE FIRST SNAPSHOT OF A TWIN EARTH

A new mission, announced today, aims to take a picture of the Alpha Centauri system, which houses the two closest sun-like stars to our solar system. This telescope will be looking to take the first ever optical image of a potentially habitable exoplanet, and the team hopes that the results will show a ‘pale blue dot’ similar to the famous photo of Earth taken by the Voyager probe.
Named Project Blue, the privately funded mission aims to launch the telescope into orbit in just a few years--a tiny amount of time in terms of space telescopes.

 
 
 
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Project Blue: Private Space Telescope to Hunt for Alien Earth at Alpha Centauri

A new initiative called "Project Blue" aims to spy on our interstellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, to capture an unprecedented visible-light image of any Earth-like planets that might orbit there. The project, which hopes to launch a lightweight telescope into Earth orbit by 2019, was announced today (Oct. 11).

 
 
 

Project Blue Sets Sights on "Pale Blue Dots" around Alpha Centauri

If you wanted to build a space telescope to see another Earth orbiting another star—in the words of Carl Sagan, another “pale blue dot” that could be searched for signs of life—how big and expensive would such a telescope be? Just a decade ago the answer boiled down to “too big” and “too expensive,” leading NASA and other space agencies to postpone for at least a generation plans to build giant, budget-busting observatories to snap pictures of Earth’s possible cosmic doppelgangers. Now, however, a consortium of privately funded research institutions is offering a markedly different conclusion. For less than $50 million, the effort’s planners say, a telescope small enough to fit in the trunk of a compact car could launch by the end of the decade on a historic mission to image another Earth-like planet. They call the plan Project Blue.